Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hope Ain't a Thing of the Past

Youthful imagination has me picking through the bones,
going through the motions
sometimes astonished,
sometimes perplexed by your beauty
a goddess ocean

and I'm back into the church
with the elder Zosimov,
such fine discernment of souls
watch me as i go,
joyful regeneration,
a candle flickering through the motions

With one look into the future
I can break Abraham Lincoln's
depression and see the blissful outcome'
of liberation coming to generations

I saw a monarch fly over my head when
I was getting new messages, from a new friend
hope ain't a thing of the past
it's recklessly here and now
and coming back

and time is my ultimate lover,
bringing things full circle
i often sit forward and wonder
at treasures to come and treasures asunder

this cool blue water
makes me feel as comfortable
as the heat of your conversation
and it's what I know,
is good and sent flowers
and I bow to your physiognomy
you trade it for worship of my dignity

you know it's gotta feel right
pay attention to each other
be good to each other
I've learned by candle light the
depth of the earth she loves me
through every season
life and death again bring it back to
restoration

hawks and monarchs are my friends and they speak
to me inaudibly signs that all is well and all will be
well

youthful imagination has me picking through the bones,
going through the motions
sometimes astonished,
sometimes perplexed by your beauty
a goddess ocean
a dream yet uncovered and 
sandals yet to be removed
under and over the blue
and oh god do i beleive
in the good things coming
hold your breath and count to ten
youthful imagination has me going again




Friday, October 6, 2017

Four strong winds
One from each corner
Pay attention to them
Pay attention to each other

Could it be there is life on the other side
And that this is but a season and time
Moves too slow and too fast
When we want what we like

Insert a metaphor or speak from
The heart, the gods desire a reunification
Pay attention to them
Pay attention to each other
Be good to each other
Time is the flavor
Of many kinds of love
One of which are the good things to come

Put a beat in my step
And a smile in my shoe
And I'll walk with the new
And the clock is still stepping
And smiling and I'm ok with that
Because I'm smiling, too
Pay attention to time
Pay attention to each other





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I don't believe for a moment
That the subtleties of your
Hips swaying generously
Were anything more than
An invitation into darkness

Cold, covered black space
I too, dream of death's release
We make whole black skies
And white moon devoid of
Stars and the wind that conjures ghosts on top of waves now creating violently is what neither of us has the power to refuse a dance that is reckless and wanton like the skin beneath the feathers of a raven rhythm can release desire and bones of lives once lived now in decay and in company of only tears in the fabric of the universe that extinguish by default and design
color,
sound
and light

Raise gray rocks as anthems to a new god
Wash and steal the sand
Backward into abyss
I don't believe for a moment this was anything less than a kiss

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rose cracked red dawn
and all who sailed
were now alert
to the law

of reaping and sowing
and things concrete
broken by tragedy
Start a Religion

Cool your breath, like orange leaves
the color of fire on the ground
welcome death, a blank tree
tall
and proud
we could plan a wedding or
start a religion, beginning at the end
waiting for a cold embrace
and more sideways glances

from the followers
or guests
reap a harvest that lies
heavy on our chest

we can build a fire
or flirt with death

the exhaust from either
would thrill me

invent new dances
and dreams, set vividly
against the now quickened sunset

orange is the color of my love
and it burns quick but goes down slow
languid is the turn of the earth
I teach in this sordid ritual

spirits are in agreement
but are they guests or will they follow
us into a clouded, cool night?

These are the fallen leaves
autumn leaves behind
the dirt that was once alive
and kind

dance the orange twilight
in seduction turn her black
the robes of broken dreams
and the past season

conjure new ghosts and new demons
we can build a fire
or flirt with death
plan a wedding
or start a religion.


At the Intersection of Harlem & Foster

You never hit the gas
when the lights turned
green it rained and we stalled

My friend, can you understand
there is an angel in the backseat
that you are ignoring

and the streets swell with the water
of your complacency, tears of lovers
you left at the last light

kid, if you keep here stalled at a green
light, enthralled by the devil ahead
we can't move and I can't help you

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It Would Be This

The table had just been polished
and the mist from the yellow
can lingered languid falling slower than the sun

If there were such a thing as a
clean ashtray, it would be this
amber glass piece set back down
carefully

I remember the moment she lived for and
now I live for these as well
a twelve hour shift at the factory
days off to clean
and sit
and smoke

whether the television is on or not,
whether the phone hums or buzzes
is all irrelevant
because I have no boots on my feet, no pipes slung over my shoulder, no iron-forged tools in my hand or wet cotton
grabbing me like a lover
desperately refusing to part
without my choice in the matter

If there were such a thing as satisfaction
it would be this, clean socks, table, drawers, an open pack of cigarettes set clumsily and spread open on the love seat, a cold summer breeze through the screen door, goosebumps on dry, clean flesh recently made darker by the sun with it's delicate soap smell dancing with the still hanging yellow can mist as I breath in and dry, cool, cotton lazily sprawled over my skin.

night will soon come
and with it, second wind
and dancing
but there is no thought of that now



Friday, July 14, 2017

She makes me feel like a fire
really, a fire,
I can't control words and burns
what is karma but a few turns
of the planet?

I'm going to be inspired
no matter what
I started a fire
then waxed non-poetic

and waned toward a dream.

we're fucked up
ashes falling from a cigarette end
like snowflakes
I was trying to build a fire for you
a fire with you
where the ashes would fall from higher
than us
like snowflakes

what is karma
but the death of me
and a bonfire turned to ash
and every new fire I try to start, I leave
I'm a cold-colored moon and my dancing
has become nothing more than white piano keys
playing tritones over and over again in a dark jazz club

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Nowadays, She Just Throws Stars From a Distance

Your memories are like the smell of molasses in brown sugar
or maybe something greater
was it your tan skin
or the way you held yourself
with dignity and beauty as you absorbed the golden sun?

That was then

between then and now, a universe blew an expansion of stars
and all the colors and magic in their trails of the words you said and
didn't say when we were younger and playing in the dark

That was us

and now you throw stars at me from a distance
haunting me from far away, throw trails of comets from
your golden face

If you would jump, I would come
I would kiss you because
I never have and I would love

keep throwing stars at me from a distance, but don't stay distant too long,
I'm going to be one of those workers that dies young.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Car Crash

"Yeah, egg him on in his torture, it's fun to watch, plus, it will make great art. Encourage him!"

God 
and the other dead poets 
are the only ones that get me
but God

is schismatic and undecided
about torture, pleasure, hope and despair 

and now the poison comes
it's an intense emotional hatred
if I were a poet, I'd call it a wet, black, blanket
and I would think the demons that cuddle me underneath it
are its bones 

and it's luck that turns you out

nothing more

the night we shared was embarrassing misandry and misogyny marrying in the back seat

the game is manufactured love
I could reach inside you and
show you your fervently
beating heart as long as I
hide my hand, don't show my cards

expel the ego that the baptist preaches as truth
arrogance is piety
pride is virtue
vanity is vanity
and you, don't have anything to offer other than a car crash

but, in the end, was avoiding it of any value?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

You're cold man,
But your teeth are so damn white
And here we wait
For the next bus

Smile to me again man
Let's hit it off, I haven't made friends yet
Been too damn depressed
Transitions are slow and these bus stop
Shelters are still cold
They may block the wind
From my shins on up
But wind's got my toes
No raised glass can stop it

Come to think of it
Let's go to class, stand outside
On break, smoke and raise a glass
To the arctic temperatures and our
Sordid ways, we got this university

To stay and play
To learn anew and to make new ways
Because the winter on campus always
Makes us slide
But if we can learn
We can jive
I like your teeth man
And I like your smile
I envy your swagger
A country mile
Before us until we catch the late bus
It's like we got nothin' to lose
Even if the cold can cut through our shoes

Jive man
Kick the winter blues
Damn man
And ain't we
Cool

Smile and let the pearly whites
Break the steam that
Makes breath visible this time
Of year, show me this town
And we can be awake
And at the same time dream
The memories we create will be that of legend
Let's step on the bus
Let's tame the dragon
And the black smoke she spits
Ride her around and recite poems
She's warm inside
And we don't have to be home
At all if we don't want to
We can ride through the city man
We can create our own land
Or territory,

Damn man, I like your smile
Swag on the bus a
Country mile
Long
Rewrite the city
Rewrite a song
Ride the dragon

We're gettin' on.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Green Boxes

Have you ever seen a poet perform
who turns the lights on for you?
her words laid out as a copper conductor
hot to ground voltages on a an inductor

the world is languid
therefore the artist exists
arc to my soul a high voltage
on the summer nights
          could you hear the transformer
          humming in our suburban back yards?
          I too, write poetry, drunk, beneath the stars

she uses electricity like a goddess
humming transformers in their green boxes

Friday, June 23, 2017

An Act of Worship

Maybe another time
Another place
I would've kissed every side
Of your face

I step with the intrepid
Love never unrequited
I'm a god among the insipid
Flavor of stars among the timid

It's only demons that dragged me here
They're having me over for tea and conversation
Such atheism needs no introduction
Like white fingernail tips they know well the art of seduction

And play vinyl records to dance to
sing romance to
Push me into a corner
And recite Shakespeare and Homer

A dark room with no pictures
Will be the death of me
A small table for three
A chair, red walls, and a cup of tea

Let the torture commence with dignity
My friend let the hairs on your head
Stand in solemnity
We don't need whips and chains, conversation is enough to hold my head under the
          running water basin that started innocently enough because your secrets are
          buried deep but mine are an open wound for all to see so keep me back in this
          low lit corner with demons and torture and work me like you had worked last
          summer the stalks fell down due to the heat, an act of worship to the coming
          storms.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dear, "The Universe" (personified) 

You were supposed to hold diamonds for me
at the end of a star-studded sky
thrown like sand into the darkness of the sea
and every grain eventually falls, no matter the strength of the wind

and we're drowning when we hit the waves
no salvation from the monastic or sage
midnight seas are like open graves
I too, sing rage

like Achilles in flames

You were supposed to give me sweet-honey bliss
but you gave me the bitterness of mind-numbing drink as a new friend
some say it comes as the wind and who
knows maybe it's honey and salt
but the salt has become bland
and tastes like dirt or sand

and dirt or sand is all I now have
no gifts or wine; Dionysus has died
and no one remembers but cold statues
stripped to white, made bare by time and tell me, oh muse

of Odysseus and the sea

You were supposed to be something greater
than all the wisdom of the ancient Greeks, the Tao or Christianity
laden in gold and smoke billowing up towards the sky, but now all is dark,
those stars once beheld more than anything I've ever known, they were full of magic and
we remembered them on a summer night, didn't we?

I was supposed to cocoon then become something new, but am I not just dying over again?



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Something new to learn
might seem palatable
like the smell of school
linoleum floors and steel lockers

Can you tell me what a kiss was like?
Can you tell me what a day on bicycle with friends meant to you?

Those same green pines had transformed from trees we climbed in our youth
Into an escape from police in our teenage years

We didn't know it at the time but
Something was coming
to divide us
insufferably

The Knife

These rules I live by are my own
Plant them and watch them grow
like the muscadine vines. I first seen them in the south, at our first house; and damn, I
          remember the french doors and the bold woodwork and the sparse grass and
          the red dirt and the heat and the poverty of our neighbors. That southern sun is
          something else, we built a swing on the oak tree and of course I was introduced
          to sweet tea, but the vines, I'll never forget. They covered the trellis and moved
          to the shed and again with the sunlight, but also, the evening thunderstorms and
          that was us baby. You would wake me to the sound of thunder and stand
          terrifyingly, knife in hand
you said that you would do it
if I leave. 
and there you were, 
a silhouette of terror 
except
you turned on the damn lights
and that was the last time

hold the knife
over our bed
balance it 
on the razor's edge
see where that gets you 
with all your goddamn threats

hold the knife
over my head
see where that gets you
did it ever cut through
the lies when I said that you were the love of my life?

hold the knife
and blame your father
who buried you alive
because the Lord told him to

hold the knife
and tell me another
story of your mother
starving you since you came out the womb early

hold the knife
and just one more time
I wish it wasn't a flashback
of my own parents' life
but it was
and so much more and baby you should've married a goddamn knife

because I found a way out and a way to get on with my goddamn life.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Shame

Did you know, as I did, that it was only instinct, darling?
and you worked it like magic

but so did I

I was
quiet, yet firm
kind and direct
my voice, solid and bold
and I didn't even have to smile

but you sure did 
sugar brown eyes 
I could've literally dived
right in

hip-width of a Greek goddess and you lifted your arms, tossed your hair and revealed the 
          flesh complimenting them

Well, we certainly know how to appeal to our base instincts, now don't we, darling?

Do you even know what the fuck
kind of dust you are kicking up?
I could fall beneath your palisades
and worship your beauty for days
and nights the two of us would do
we would drink of the rose 
and slice off the moon
I swear to the gods and every living thing 
our animal desires would light holy temple fires
a Dionysian cult would be revived
in an instant bringing all the fertility gods back to life  

but here's the thing

In a moment I walked away
went to the restroom to wash my face
and look in the mirror to see
my heart and brain
and they were completely blank

I mean, literally 
nothing, babe!

It's a goddamn shame 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Demons

My demons are a bit more dignified
They wear Dolce & Gabbana ties
They'll sit down with me
over a cup of tea
and they have such nice stories, which mostly begin about how this wonderful love, this
           dear spirit, was someone different, entirely. And the funny thing is, this corrupt,
           ignoble spirit of a person I met, they tell me, should be treated angelically. This
           is their joke and this is where they like to keep me.

Such charming advice for the bad, who turns to me and laughs

My demons wear clean, Italian shoes
and hand-tailored Italian suits
The Indigenous woman gave me medicine
The monk offered me medicine, too
yet I simply refuse, appealed to by a beautiful glass of whiskey and I have 1.75 more liters
          on top of the fridge
I pushed the Indigenous woman away and to the monk, I explained everything that my
          demons had to say
I was standing at confession and suddenly felt faint
and they smiled
When the monk gave me Holy water, they still smiled, they knew how we would flush it out
          later that day
When I had left the holy place that was filled with incense smoke and the prayers of the
          saints, I realized that I no longer light two candles, I don't even light one
I should've mentioned the Russian girl in confession
but my demons make me forget
Pushkin reminded me today
of love and dark skin
but no one's as dark as my demons are; I was researching female body types that
         suggest more room inside when I heard that I was Dionysus
but my own behavior is more dignified
I tell myself that and I make myself mad
No, I am a tree, firmly planted; I am at one with the universe and at peace
but these roots keep sucking up the wrong things and it's making me diseased; I
          should've listened to the Indigenous woman, or at least the monk because my
          bark is now showing from the roots to the trunk, tell-tale signs of rot from
          the inside
but these demons wear top-hats and have canes; how can I explain their subtle swagger?
          They'd have me dance right into hell on the edge of a dagger
but these gods of the ancient Greeks, ever dirty and never clean, and sirens' songs are
          my demons' gift to me

Folks,
I breathe sins

and tragedies.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Odds

Between every strand of your dark red, auburned hair

I feel is magic
Your makeup is impeccable and smile is timed perfectly
I'm not sure how you do it

I know you know and I'm telling you if you keep this up, something will happen

but the timing was just missed
the magic was blocked by the gods
I would've had you tonight
if it weren't for the odds


Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Haunting

Is there a saint for sorrow?
A saint for sadness?
A saint for death?
A saint for madness

Because lord knows I can't pray in a haunted house
This is where your spirit left me
Dead ass drunk
And dead ass empty

I pulled up the white, picket fences today
There’s no use for them now that your garden is gone
The neighbors don't talk to me anymore
If they do look at me, I only see a sideways frown
But it’s hard to even get that

I hate myself for the love
I could never give
And I’m a damn good catch in a white t-shirt
Dig?

I wonder if she knew that
and she knew that
and her and her

Could they just tell?

Push to the left
Push to the right
All of them
But one I've never met

She knows more than I know and she is a ghost
And she is seriously
Haunting my soul




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sidestepped advances are the worst kinds of dances
And you could never dance well to begin with

Could you?

I am proud of my recklessness
Careless abandon
You are cowed by your own life
And dissatisfaction

You didn’t come here to dance, though. Did you?
You came for the punch and to be carried by a dancer
At least for a little while
And when the buzz wore off
You followed me home anyway,
But you wanted to stand outside in the rain
Indecisiveness indicative of your cowardice
Pleasure less important than the familiar comfort of pain

This is a smile, my dear

Something I should’ve known for a while, my dear

Friday, May 5, 2017

                          Roses

The gods came down
And smelted roses
From the ashes of my last life
Each one a new life, a new color

Some thorns are better than others
And some fragrances sweeter
Some petals soft
And some petals bitter

Roses must be kept cool to thrive
They cannot toil and sweat
They are wilted by worry and
Carried away by fret

Trouble is not trouble if you behold their
Simple beauty, take it for what it is
And let expectations drift slowly
Out into the black blanket pierced by stars so often called the night sky.
I pick up moons and tides of lives gone by and these ashes make sure to water for all it takes is Dionysus' bulbs carefully placed, to grow new roses for each new day.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seed Fruit

The prairies have been filled
and that year the spring grass
was being pulled, dominated
and replaced with a too-green, carpet facade

Nevermore the prariedogs rise
but rather the suburbanites
reaching for hot mugs of the fruit of your family's labor

I was conceived that year
When autumn descended into black, starless nights
the earth was still in mourning after receiving you so violently
and violently the misanthropes misbehaved giving a peace offering to their
violent god that sits enthroned behind the vinyl siding in every
passive cul-de-sac

Were the faces of the ravens the same as those of the cardinals?
They were confused, weren't they, father?
They didn't know what fruit a dead seed could produce

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday: The Great Hawk Cometh 

Still

a gray hawk
and we are
one
and alone
and comforted

blanket me
that I may be quiet

and covered in all my sins
my bones are white and I
and everyone else can see
them popping through my
mortal flesh which is hushed by a dark cloak

fly down now
great hawk and give us
eyes to prey that we too may
sink into flesh after today


-jm 2011

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


There is a place for it
and it is an empty side
walk on an empty side
street with no cars or

foot traffic rumbling by
but no hay bails either
just a couple of drops
of water falling from a

now grey sky

concrete and glass
seem so cold but why are
we so at home in them
and why are we not awake

yet?



-JM 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Subject

Subject
to the forces
a storm

the summer
the stalks fell down
bowing their golden heads
almost in an act of worship
subject
inspires
awe



-JM 2010

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Paper Trails and Providence

Paper Trails and Providence

True art is not aggrandized
and it scares monsters away
monsters make mad metaphors in
mystery I pray as grass grows

years are cut from the dirt
and grow again or a bird
makes a home from the
scraps rise calm and

Agape rose from Greece
to Rome curved and columned
marble and stone became Europe
with velvet and gold

paper trails and providence
bring perfumes to the taste
peace is power of chaste over
haste with yellow roses

a wall can be a path
and monsters are turned to
grains and salt and
carried away with the wind

So true, paper trails and
providence bring things to
life again blue and white
breakers will bring you safely in

stuck sails and lighthouses
paper trails and providence


-Jacob Michael 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Proffessor Daly, at University of Illinois Chicago writes:
"I guess also teaching western civ has forced me to think also about what poets are about: they are hypersensitive individuals who sense trends and moods in society that the rest of us can only vaguely experience. They also interpret and articulate for us what it's like to be human."

This is a treasure.


-JM